An explanation of how magnets work by using their poles to either attract or repel objects. Only metals which contain iron, nickel or cobalt are magnetic. The two poles which are the same will repel each other, and the two poles which are different will attract each other. There are magnets all around us. Magnetic north is used in a compass to show directions.

First broadcast:
9 October 2007

This clip can be used to look at the forces of magnetism and gravity. After showing the clip, compasses could be handed out and the children can be invited to find objects in the playground which have been hidden in the most northern, southern, western or eastern corner of the playground.

You could then ask the children to explore magnetism and gravity by comparing the forces. Maybe present the children with statements about either magnetism or gravity, for example "I attract everything" or "I attract only metal" and "I only pull down" or "I can also pull up" and ask them to link them to gravity or magnetism. Invite the children to think about how they could make the invisible force of magnetism visible. Tiny iron filings in water could be used to illustrate magnetism. Ask the children to hold magnets against the iron filings, moving them up and down and let them comment on the patterns they form.